BY GRETCHEN MURRAY Special to the Record-Eagle
Traverse City Record-Eagle
---- — TRAVERSE CITY — Jack Driscoll is a 2013 winner of the prestigious Society of Midland Authors Award.
The novelist, poet and long-time Interlochen resident earned a prize in Adult Fiction for his latest collection of short stories, “The World of a Few Minutes Ago” (Wayne State University Press). The book offers 10 stories from the point of view of characters between the ages of 14 and 77, all set in northern Michigan.
The SMA, founded in Chicago in 1915 by such notable authors as Clarence Darrow, Harriet Monroe, Hamlin Garland, Edna Ferber and Vachel Lindsay, includes published authors from 12 Midwestern states. Since 1957, the society has presented annual awards for the best books written by Midwestern authors published in the previous year.
When Driscoll accepts the award on May 14 in Chicago, he will join an elite group of past winners including Saul Bellow, Kurt Vonnegut, Studs Terkel, Gwendolyn Brooks and many others.
The award comes on the heels of two others. “The World of a Few Minutes Ago” also was selected as a 2013 Michigan Notable Book and is a ForeWord Book of the Year finalist.
The recognition for his latest work is preceded by numerous awards for his previous four novels, four books of poems and another short story collection.
“I’ve spent the last 50 years working to do this thing well –- trying through the prism of language to describe what it is to be a human being in this world,” said Driscoll, 67. “And I absolutely believe these stories are stronger than anything I’ve written previously.
“It’s been a good year for these to come one after the other like this, but I never wrote for the spotlight. I’ve tried to stay true to myself and stay focused on writing well. It’s nice that the byproduct of that has been this kind of attention.”
Driscoll teaches for Pacific University in Oregon. He previously helped found the creative writing program at Interlochen Center for the Arts, where he spent about 33 years on the faculty.